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Fundamental Laser Class rule change


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#1 Sailer X

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:09 PM

http://www.laserinte...l.org/rules2011

This rule change is very important for the future of the class. The change and the explanation have been approved by the Laser Class World Council and the Laser Class Advisory Council. Please do not delay your vote.

For 40 years the ILCA Class Rules and associated agreements concerning the management of the class have given the sailing world the most successful youth and adult racing class in history with over 200,000 boats built and racing in over 125 countries.

This success, we believe, is based fundamentally on the ILCA Class Rules, which requires that a builder of class-legal boats must (among other things) (i) manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual and (ii) have the Laser trademark rights.

In addition, a builder also needs a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. This provision is mostly historical. The rule was instituted at a time when Bruce Kirby held certain design rights. The ILCA is not a party to any of these “Kirby” agreements.

Unfortunately, a dispute has arisen between parties who claim to be representing Kirby’s interests: a New Zealand company called Global Sailing; and Laser Performance Europe (LPE), one of the manufacturers, which holds the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea). The dispute centers on whether a valid “design rights holder” agreement exists with LPE. Under the current ILCA Class Rules, if there is not a valid building agreement, then a manufacturer, even a trademark owner, would not meet the requirements to be an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and International Laser Class Association (ILCA) approved builder.

Each of the parties to the conflict has threatened ILCA in various ways – Global Sailing has said it may form a new class association for a “Kirby Sailboat”. LPE informed the ILCA that it intends to form its own “Laser” class. We may therefore end up with three different classes and may lose the Olympic status. The “one design / out of the box principle” would also be threatened.

One other possible result of this conflict is that due to uncertainty over ISAF and ILCA approval, there may not be a sufficient quantity of new Laser boats compliant with the ILCA Class Rules available in Europe and other countries in 2011 and beyond to satisfy the demand of its current and future ILCA members.

The class officers made numerous attempts to get the two conflicting parties to end their dispute: meetings were held in different parts of the world and written compromise proposals were made, unfortunately with no success. While discussions between the two parties continue we are unsure of the outcome and running out of time.

We also took legal advice. The above rule changes were deemed the only possible solution in order to promote the uninterrupted supply of class legal Laser boats and to maintain ILCA in its current set-up. The lawyers also informed us that the Kirby design patents had in fact expired.

Therefore, we are proposing to change the rule to eliminate the “building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc” requirement. Manufacturers who have trademark rights and who build in strict adherence to the ILCA Rules and to the Construction Manual, which is controlled by ILCA, will continue to have the right to build Class legal boats. We believe that this change will eliminate uncertainty over ISAF and ILCA approval, give manufacturers continued reasons to support the class and satisfy the demands of current and future class members.





#2 <deleted user>

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:33 PM

guv, whatdya think?

#3 NYBOZO1

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 11:22 PM

I don't vote for things I don't fully understand.

Can anyone put this in terms that even a Bozo from NY can comprehend? Somethings missing.

#4 Tiller Man

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 11:39 PM

I don't vote for things I don't fully understand.

Can anyone put this in terms that even a Bozo from NY can comprehend? Somethings missing.


I agree. We haven't heard the whole story. Bruce Kirby sold his rights to Global Sailing. I'm not voting until I hear from them and understand what their intentions are for the future of Laser sailing,

#5 JimC

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 06:29 AM

It does seem as if it would be less than sensible for the class association to get involved in a s***fight between two Laser builders which seems to be roughly what's going on. After all if one goes toes up and you are left with just the other and its not the one you picked...

#6 TP30

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 08:25 AM

Is it even within the CAs power to do this vote?

#7 BobBill

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 12:22 PM

Someone cares? Class should be gratified. As it is, Laser rules and poorly designed hulls and spars are driving its demise, as well as anything. My boat is gone, I am still very happy it is down the road.

#8 mad skills

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:10 PM

This is all just a ploy contrived by the Finn class on the eve of an important ISAF vote regarding Olympic selection.

#9 Icedtea

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:04 PM

We really need to see Gouv's view on this, he'll have a better insight into this than any of us...

#10 kmccabe

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:34 PM

that's just hard man,,, really hard on Gouv...

#11 Icedtea

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:03 PM

that's just hard man,,, really hard on Gouv...

What do you mean?
Sorry I don't understand..

#12 Sloan

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:09 PM

Please do not delay your vote.


That part concerns me. Why must we rush to vote?

You offer very little information and then ask us to vote the way you want.

No thanks, I will wait for further information. I do not much care if the class loses its Olympic status. It was a stronger class before it became Olympic and will remain a strong class after its removal. I have as much respect if not more, for a Worlds winner as I do a medalist.

#13 xyz10000

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:47 PM

What a fantastic way for a class to implode. How long till the Olympic vote? Certainly one way to get the boot.


Always were crap boats to sail always will be. Only good thing there are loads of them.

#14 xyz10000

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:58 PM

Vote No or Wait?

Hello I am Chris Caldecoat, one of the ILCA Advisory Council Members.

I have been asked by my sailing colleagues why, as an Advisory Council member, I would support this puzzling resolution.

I want to make it clear I DID NOT SUPPORT this proposed rule change and VOTED AGAINST it.

Let me share with you the facts.

I voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity.

From my knowledge of the events, Heini Wellman and Jeff Martin communication with members is definitely wanting in content and could be construed as misleading.

Laser sailors deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation.

If there is a genuine basis to put a change of this magnitude to the class membership we deserve a far more detailed case for Yes and No vote.

Think about how in democratic societies referendums are run, there is a case for the Yes put out to the World and a case for the No that is explored publically then there is a properly constituted vote.

This is not what has happened here and right now there is no need for us as sailors to be pushed into making hasty decisions.

I believe the class is spending your money on issues that it should not get involved in.


What is the implication for all designers of all classes around the world under ISAF's umbrella if a rule like this was to be passed ?

There is much more coming on this story, either vote NO or wait for more information.

Chris Caldecoat
GM
Performance Sailcraft Australia Pty Ltd



Is there a connection between Performance Sailcraft Australia and Global Sailing ? Interesting question.

#15 NYBOZO1

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 11:21 PM

I wonder what specific monetary effect this has on Jeff Martin.

He has had a stranglehold on this class for a long,long time and we should be sure he is acting in the
Class's best interest and not just his own.

Our own Tracy Usher, NA Class Prez, and a good man, doesn't seem to know what is really going on either. Why is that?

www.laserforum.org under the Class Politics section

OK Mr. Shroth....time for you to get involved!

#16 Tiller Man

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 11:23 PM

Is there a connection between Performance Sailcraft Australia and Global Sailing ? Interesting question.


Yes. They are owned by the same family.

#17 xyz10000

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 11:55 PM


Is there a connection between Performance Sailcraft Australia and Global Sailing ? Interesting question.


Yes. They are owned by the same family.


Thank you i see it all.

Looking at the laser forum and getting more confused.

http://www.laserforum.org

If someone could explain this in words of one syllable it would be appreciated.

#18 redstar

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:00 AM

Is there a connection between Performance Sailcraft Australia and Global Sailing ? Interesting question.


Yes, it's well known that they both have the same ownership. Different companies though.

What it comes down to is that Global Sailing has the rights to the Laser design around the world. However, they don't have the rights to call that design a Laser, at least not in some parts of the world (Europe in particular). On the other hand, Laser Performance have the rights to call a boat a Laser and use the Laser symbol and sell that boat in Europe and other places, but that Laser cannot be of the same design as what we now call a Laser - it needs to be different enough that it doesn't violate Global Sailing's design rights.

A similar situation (on a smaller scale but involving the same two groups in reverse) currently exists with the SB3. It is made by Laser Performance and called a Laser SB3 in most parts of the world, but LP don't have trademark rights on the Laser brand in Australia so here they sell it as a Dart SB3. So these groups (LP and PSA/GS) have history together.

Global Sailing are threatening to sell Lasers around the world, but call them something different - a Kirby sailing dinghy or the like. LP are threatening to change the design just enough, and sell that as a Laser in the territories they control and probably with a different name in the rest of the world. The result is two different but very similar classes, where once there was one. Big problem for the sailors and the class association.

However, the ILCA's solution though seems to be firmly on LP's side - they want to take control of what can be called a Laser and are effectively dismissing GS's rights to the design. They seem to be claiming that GS's rights have no basis in law which may or may not be true - I don't know. GS, who paid good money for those rights, are understandably annoyed by this, and want to enforce their rights, and want LP to pay royalties.

And that is the crux of the issue I suspect. LP don't want to pay GS royalties, or at least not as much as GS wants them to. So after what I suspect has been long, bitter negotiations, both sides are threatening to go their own way, and in the process, breaking the class apart. And it has got to the stage that something that should have been sorted out at a corporate level between the two groups has descended into something that is affecting the class around the world.

ILCA have proposed a solution, which seems to be more in favour of LP than GS. And strangely they want everyone to vote quickly, while GS wants everyone to wait.

What is definite is that the ILCA have continued their long held tradition of poor communication and drip fed information, rather than the openness and accountability that the class members should be able to expect.

#19 xyz10000

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:58 AM


Is there a connection between Performance Sailcraft Australia and Global Sailing ? Interesting question.


Yes, it's well known that they both have the same ownership. Different companies though.

What it comes down to is that Global Sailing has the rights to the Laser design around the world. However, they don't have the rights to call that design a Laser, at least not in some parts of the world (Europe in particular). On the other hand, Laser Performance have the rights to call a boat a Laser and use the Laser symbol and sell that boat in Europe and other places, but that Laser cannot be of the same design as what we now call a Laser - it needs to be different enough that it doesn't violate Global Sailing's design rights.

A similar situation (on a smaller scale but involving the same two groups in reverse) currently exists with the SB3. It is made by Laser Performance and called a Laser SB3 in most parts of the world, but LP don't have trademark rights on the Laser brand in Australia so here they sell it as a Dart SB3. So these groups (LP and PSA/GS) have history together.

Global Sailing are threatening to sell Lasers around the world, but call them something different - a Kirby sailing dinghy or the like. LP are threatening to change the design just enough, and sell that as a Laser in the territories they control and probably with a different name in the rest of the world. The result is two different but very similar classes, where once there was one. Big problem for the sailors and the class association.

However, the ILCA's solution though seems to be firmly on LP's side - they want to take control of what can be called a Laser and are effectively dismissing GS's rights to the design. They seem to be claiming that GS's rights have no basis in law which may or may not be true - I don't know. GS, who paid good money for those rights, are understandably annoyed by this, and want to enforce their rights, and want LP to pay royalties.

And that is the crux of the issue I suspect. LP don't want to pay GS royalties, or at least not as much as GS wants them to. So after what I suspect has been long, bitter negotiations, both sides are threatening to go their own way, and in the process, breaking the class apart. And it has got to the stage that something that should have been sorted out at a corporate level between the two groups has descended into something that is affecting the class around the world.

ILCA have proposed a solution, which seems to be more in favour of LP than GS. And strangely they want everyone to vote quickly, while GS wants everyone to wait.

What is definite is that the ILCA have continued their long held tradition of poor communication and drip fed information, rather than the openness and accountability that the class members should be able to expect.



Thank you now i get it. What a mess



#20 mad skills

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 01:14 AM

What an amazing display of poor leadership.

#21 dogwatch

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:02 AM

Global Sailing are threatening to sell Lasers around the world, but call them something different - a Kirby sailing dinghy or the like. LP are threatening to change the design just enough, and sell that as a Laser in the territories they control and probably with a different name in the rest of the world. The result is two different but very similar classes, where once there was one. Big problem for the sailors and the class association.


Somebody, I guess Global Sailing, owns the copyright to the design documentation. Patents, if there were any, would now have expired but copyright has a much longer life-span (in most countries) and would still apply. If my presumption that Global Sailing holds the copyright is true, I don't see how LP can legally produce a "nearly-Laser" without Global Sailing's consent, which presumably does not exist. Without that they would have to change the design completely.

Whatever the actual situation, it seems to be that for ILCA to keep it's membership entirely in the dark while requesting them to vote urgently in favour of one party to the dispute is inept and likely to end in doom and unmitigated failure.

#22 dogwatch

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:01 AM

If Kirby's design patent has expired... is the design now in the public domain??


Almost certainly not. Copyright.

#23 Quagers

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:11 AM

I believe that the Design patent has expired but currently the Class Association requires that the builder has an agreement with Kirby regardless of this, global sailing has this agreement but LP has the copyright to the name/logo. This vote is about removing this requirement.

I think, that could all be crap.

#24 dogwatch

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

My impression is the copyrights pertain to the logos and name...


Nope, those would be trademarks. Patent, copyright and trademark are three distinct forms of intellectual property. The design documentation referenced by the class rules is almost certainly someone's copyright, probably Global Sailing if they bought out Kirkby. Class rules in this case are copyright ILCA but reference the "construction manual" which is likely to be the property of the designer or his successor.

#25 POH

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 10:22 AM

Agree - amazingly poor leadership from the top.

Also agree - not going to vote until understand.

As there is so little to understand ... I think I will pontificate broadly based on zero information. (Yes, I will one day be a politician!).

If the design rights are expired, then it would make sense for the ILCA to remove that as a requirement to be a builder. That's the whole point of IP rights expiring after time, at some juncture in the future you want to open up the field to more competition after having rewarded the original inventor. Kirby definitely got his $$ out of this invention, so I support opening up the options. (If they haven't expired, then the class is bound to get caught up in the eventual lawsuit rather than just being able to stand back and watch the boys fights).

But, given that the leaders seem to be complete muppets based on how they've handled this, who is to trust them to pick the right builders? Factor that in with the whole 'intensity sails' piece, and I'm thinking it's time for a step change. Kick the builders off any approval bodies, make some REAL changes to the fundamental rules, redo the building agreements completely, open it up to competitive bidding for the global rights to build for the next 5 years, drive down costs ... oh, it could be amazing!

Or ... just do this half assed thing.

#26 Ncik

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:22 AM

the joys of SMOD that isn't SM

#27 jwlbrace

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:25 AM

well apparently Bruce Kirby is releasing a statement or interview tomorrow... on April Fool's Day no less.

#28 Audax

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:33 PM

If the ILCA took control of both the Laser trademark and the Laser design rights, and then licensed building rights to whom ever meets the design criteria we would not have this mess. This would also solve current issues with non-class legal sails and blades because the CA could then license specific rights to those who now produce non-royalty equipment.

#29 dogwatch

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 01:03 PM

If the ILCA took control of both the Laser trademark and the Laser design rights, and then licensed building rights to whom ever meets the design criteria we would not have this mess.


Doubtless these could be bought for a few tens of $mil. Laser sailors get your cheque books out. Don't all rush at once, form an orderly queue please.

#30 Laser Tag

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:01 PM


If Kirby's design patent has expired... is the design now in the public domain??


Almost certainly not. Copyright.



It is very difficult to "copyright" the design of a consumer product. Copyright is generally used in the arts. Most manufacturers use patents and trademarks to establish IP. It is quite difficult to file a patent for a hull design unless the designer has done something radically different. The United States provides better protection than most parts of the world for yacht designers and boat builders with statutory protection enabling a hull design to be a registered copyright. However this copyright expires after 10 years.

Bottom line. It is incredibly unlikely that the original Laser design is still protected by any copyright or patents. The ILCA announcement says they consulted lawyers and it sounds like they got good advice.

It sounds to me like the class is asking their members to take matters into their own hands. The manufacturers are having a shit fight. One of them tried to get the upper hand by buying the so called "global rights". Sounds like they didn't do their homework because the "global rights" are tenuous at best and depend upon a class rule, not copyright law.

According to the announcement the class tried to get everyone to compromise but the buggers wouldn't stop fighting. Class consults lawyers and discovers that actually the class could be in the driving seat if it wants to.

I dont have a dog in the fight between all these different commercial interests and manufacturers but it seems to me that it might be a good thing if Laser owners get a say in who are appointed builders. Laser owners have put up with shitty construction and commercial infighting for too long. If builders have to be approved by the class members (like many other classes), it seems to me that things can only improve.

#31 dogwatch

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:37 PM



If Kirby's design patent has expired... is the design now in the public domain??


Almost certainly not. Copyright.



It is very difficult to "copyright" the design of a consumer product. Copyright is generally used in the arts. Most manufacturers use patents and trademarks to establish IP.


But what you are looking at here is a product whose characteristics in terms of class conformance are defined by the "construction manual", which is referenced by class rules but not part of the class rules, precisely because the class rules are ILCA's copyright and public domain but the construction manual is/was the designer's copyright and is not in the public domain. In that sense it's not a typical consumer product at all where the "design" is about the physical appearance and the "internals" are irrelevant. It's in some ways closer to a piece of software where the defining text specifies the product - and the predominant method of protecting IP in software is copyright.

Btw for several years I administered class rule amendments for a single manufacturer OD class association with a similar structure to this, so I've been around some of these loops before.

#32 Litoralis

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:55 PM

In the interest of promoting transparency by giving everyone all the available information, here is some information on some of the intellectual property related to the Laser.

The following copyrights are recorded at the US Copyright Office:

A copyright on a visual work of the Laser, titled "Laser / designed by Bruce Kirby" apparently owned by Bruce Kirby himself.

A copyright on the Laser Construction Manual apparently owned by Bruce Kirby Inc.

A copyright on a drawing of a Laser boat apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

A copyright on some sort of design for the Laser apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

Bruce Kirby also seems to have had US design patents on the design of the model radio controlled Laser (http://www.google.co....BAJ&dq=D373156) and a swinging centerboard boat (http://www.google.co....BAJ&dq=D304922).

The Laser trademark in the US (Reg. No.: 1038170) was originally registered by PERFORMANCE SAILCRAFT INC. CORPORATION CANADA 91 HYMUS BLVD. POINTE CLAIRE, QUEBEC CANADA but is apparently now owned by a holding company in Jersey KARAYA (JERSEY) LIMITED CORPORATION JERSEY 14 CONWAY STREET ST HELIER JERSEY.

There don't seem to have been any US design patents or Canadian industrial designs on the Laser itself. Also, it seems that the Laser is not registered under the relatively new Vessel Hull Design Protection Act: http://www.copyright...list/index.html

So, there seem to be some registered copyrights in the US on the design of the Laser and, interestingly, Bruce Kirby Inc. seems to own the US copyright on the Laser Construction Manual. Of course, there could be other unregistered copyrights and trademarks, as well as unrecorded agreements that govern the intellectual property. There could also be IP rights registered in countries outside the US as well as common law rights to IP.

#33 Laser Tag

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:26 PM




If Kirby's design patent has expired... is the design now in the public domain??


Almost certainly not. Copyright.



It is very difficult to "copyright" the design of a consumer product. Copyright is generally used in the arts. Most manufacturers use patents and trademarks to establish IP.


But what you are looking at here is a product whose characteristics in terms of class conformance are defined by the "construction manual", which is referenced by class rules but not part of the class rules, precisely because the class rules are ILCA's copyright and public domain but the construction manual is/was the designer's copyright and is not in the public domain. In that sense it's not a typical consumer product at all where the "design" is about the physical appearance and the "internals" are irrelevant. It's in some ways closer to a piece of software where the defining text specifies the product - and the predominant method of protecting IP in software is copyright.

Btw for several years I administered class rule amendments for a single manufacturer OD class association with a similar structure to this, so I've been around some of these loops before.


Purely from a legal perspective copyright is not a very effective way to protect a construction manual. The copyright would prevent someone reproducing or copying the manual but not from reading it. (Copyright is an effective way to protect software for that reason.) One assumes that all the parties in this already have their copy of the construction manual.
If the construction manual was sold to someone, then it could have been accompanied by terms of use under contract law. I suspect we would have heard something about that. I truly doubt that copyright law will have any relevance here.
In the United States the law on copyright as it applies to hull design is unambiguous. The copyright must be registered and lasts 10 years. There is nothing to stop Gouv taking a plug off a Laser and building one. He just cannot call it a Laser.

The trade mark is interesting. The ICLA announcement doesnt share with us who owns the trademark. The class rules currently require boats to carry the trade mark. But there is nothing to stop the class association changing that rule as well. Then, in theory, as long as Gouv meets construction standards set by the class and ISAF and the class members approved him as a builder, then boats built by Gouv, identical to a Laser (but not called a Laser) would be eligable to race in Laser regattas .

The existing builders might have a tort claim, but it would be fairly easy for the class to dodge that bullet. If I were advising the existing builders, the way this seems to be going, I would advise them to start being very nice to Laser owners and the class in general. Which is maybe how it should be.

#34 Laser Tag

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:41 PM

Another interesting feature is that the Class Association needs its members' votes.
So the class leadership are going to have to learn to be responsive to its class members.
Which is also maybe how it should be.

#35 simbert

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:43 PM

Gouv, can you build a super fast laser that will measure in?

#36 dogwatch

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:52 PM

In the United States the law on copyright as it applies to hull design is unambiguous. The copyright must be registered and lasts 10 years. There is nothing to stop Gouv taking a plug off a Laser and building one. He just cannot call it a Laser.


In British law the construction manual would be classed as a literary work (as is software, for example) and copyright lasts 70 years after the author's death. There is no requirement to register.

What you are describing as "copyright as it applies to hull design" is not classed as copyright in British law. It's a "design right". In AUS law I believe it's called "industrial copyright". These have a much shorter term than copyright.

If I were advising the existing builders, the way this seems to be going, I would advise them to start being very nice to Laser owners and the class in general.


When I ran class rules in a similar situation we could certainly not, as a class association, simply change rules without reference to the copyright holder of the design plan. Change needed their blessing as well as the classes. I fear the ILCA is getting itself into very deep water indeed.

#37 avantgardaclue

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 05:21 PM

If Steve Cockerill can get away with building "training sails" identical to the official racing sails what's there to actually stop him building "training hulls" identical in everyway to the the racing boats? I thought he wanted to develop his own boat!

Rooster sails

#38 Nipper156

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:45 PM

If the ILCA took control of both the Laser trademark and the Laser design rights, and then licensed building rights to whom ever meets the design criteria we would not have this mess. This would also solve current issues with non-class legal sails and blades because the CA could then license specific rights to those who now produce non-royalty equipment.


Is what you are proposing how the 49er class operates? as they are probably the most similar restricted international OD to the Laser, ie you can only get hulls from 2? builders, and all the masts,sails,can only come from one manufacturer. I assume the design rights for the 49er must still live with the Bethwaites.

If so, then it seems to work for the 49er's

#39 Lynch

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:29 PM

Could this possibly mean that we could get a proper sail for the boat instead of a cross cut sack that lasts for 20 minutes on a windy day? We might even get it at a reasonable cost instead of paying through the nose to a single supplier!

#40 TP30

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:49 PM

Far be it for me to blow my own trumpet, but I predicted this 5 years ago, almost to the day.

See here

#41 SimonN

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:26 PM

I don't have a dog in this fight but would like to make one observation.

First @Chris Caldecoat
You are a complete dickhead. To come on this forum, when you are one of the protagonists in this mess, and solicit certain actions (or non action) without declaring your interest shows you to be somebody who cannot be trusted and it is no suprise there is this mess. It is also totally disrespectful to this community.

If you had come on here, declared your interest and set oyt your case, you might have win a lot of friends. As it is, I suspect you have done more harm than good, and deservedly so.

#42 blackensign

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:54 PM

After reading this, I went for a breeze through the Laser forums. I got the impression from there that the boats aren't quite as "one design" as people would have us believe.

Is it true that there can be up to 6 inches of difference in the mast rake measurement??? As I sail boats where I can set my own mast rake, I know that this is figure is HUGE! Surely it can only be worse when you are sailing with the mainsheet block-to-block upwind?
And something about the Centrecase???

Sounds to me that this is a class that needs to pull its act together. My boat cost a lot less than a Laser, yet everything that seems to be an issue with the Laser is something that can be self fixed or adjusted on any other class. If you WERE to make Lasers that weren't part of the class anymore, I just can't see a reason to buy it. As it is (or was?) I have been very tempted to get my hands on a second hand Laser just to be a part of the big fleet racing, but if you had the same boat and no big fleet - I just wouldn't do it!

#43 resalsail

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:20 PM

I don't have a dog in this fight but would like to make one observation.

First @Chris Caldecoat
You are a complete dickhead. To come on this forum, when you are one of the protagonists in this mess, and solicit certain actions (or non action) without declaring your interest shows you to be somebody who cannot be trusted and it is no suprise there is this mess. It is also totally disrespectful to this community.

If you had come on here, declared your interest and set oyt your case, you might have win a lot of friends. As it is, I suspect you have done more harm than good, and deservedly so.


No worse, IMHO, then what ILCA is doing, telling everyone to "VOTE NOW" and telling us why we should vote YES, without giving us the full story....




#44 Laser Tag

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:23 PM

In British law the construction manual would be classed as a literary work (as is software, for example) and copyright lasts 70 years after the author's death. There is no requirement to register.


Possibly. However my point was that claiming copyright on the "construction manual" is not an effective strategy in this case. It would merely prevent the parties reproducing or copying the literary work that is the construction manual. One assumes that these builders already have their construction manuals.
Copyright does not prevent the parties reading or following the instructions in existing copies of the construction manual. Under British law (and indeed most country's laws) design rights and/or copyright do not subsist in a method of construction.

With the information in front of us I doubt that copyright is going the nexus of the issues in this dispute.

I concur that copyright is effective with regard to many software rights.


What you are describing as "copyright as it applies to hull design" is not classed as copyright in British law. It's a "design right". In AUS law I believe it's called "industrial copyright". These have a much shorter term than copyright.


Also correct. The design right under British law lasts 10 years from the year that the design was first made available for sale.


When I ran class rules in a similar situation we could certainly not, as a class association, simply change rules without reference to the copyright holder of the design plan. Change needed their blessing as well as the classes.


This of course moves away from the legal realm. But yes I would 100% concur that a well run class would try and forge a partnership with builders and designer. Were you working with RS classes? They seem to do a very good job as a supported class association with a partnership between classes and their commercial sponsor.

In the case of the Laser class with builders that seem to be at odds and one builder claiming (probably incorrectly) that they have purchased the design rights, then perhaps the class has to take a stand for the poor sods that own the boats.

One amusing aside. If Bruce Kirby really got paid by the guys from NZ for design rights that had expired then I bet that cheque didnt stay on the fridge door for very long.

#45 Laser Tag

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:38 PM

There don't seem to have been any US design patents or Canadian industrial designs on the Laser itself. Also, it seems that the Laser is not registered under the relatively new Vessel Hull Design Protection Act: http://www.copyright...list/index.html


This act now forms Chapter 13 of Title 17 of the US Code (copyright law). In a nutshell the hull copyright expires in 10 years.
In British law, refer to Part III of the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act.

#46 SimonN

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:12 PM


I don't have a dog in this fight but would like to make one observation.

First @Chris Caldecoat
You are a complete dickhead. To come on this forum, when you are one of the protagonists in this mess, and solicit certain actions (or non action) without declaring your interest shows you to be somebody who cannot be trusted and it is no suprise there is this mess. It is also totally disrespectful to this community.

If you had come on here, declared your interest and set oyt your case, you might have win a lot of friends. As it is, I suspect you have done more harm than good, and deservedly so.


No worse, IMHO, then what ILCA is doing, telling everyone to "VOTE NOW" and telling us why we should vote YES, without giving us the full story....

Somebody posted on here an official announcement by ILCA. They were totally transparent as to who they are and what their agenda is. Whether you like their agenda or not, they don't try to suggest that they are anybody other than ILCA. However, Chris Caldecoat comes on here and doesn't declare his interest, which is significant and material. I was certainly taken in, believing he was independent and therefore his view was independent. He positioned himself as "an Advisory Council member who "voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity." In fact, it seems like he voted against it because it harms his business. That is dishonest.

#47 sandgrounder

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:19 AM

A UK Perspective

If it wasn't for Bruce Kirby none of us would be here discussing this issue. His views on the matter will undoubtedly prove enlightening and pivotal.

Why did Bruce Kirby deem Global Sailing to be the appropriate entity to continue his global legacy of the Laser sailing dinghy, and to protect the interests of Laser sailors?

I am reliably informed that Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia are owned by the same family.

As far as I can see, this is a corporate battle between Performance Sailcraft Australasia and Laser Performance Europe, with Laser sailors being utilised as the pawns.

Over the past decade, Laser sailors in the UK have observed that Laser Performance Europe appear poorly managed, exhibit symptoms of severe financial difficulties, and treat their retail customers, corporate clients, suppliers, dealers, contractors and employees with disdain. This has resulted in the liquidation of numerous companies in the UK leisure marine sector, and significant dissatisfaction and frustration throughout the LPE customer base. All of the above can be confirmed by numerous individuals and companies.

The resultant impact on ILCA members can be summarized as follows:-

  • Chronically poor customer service
  • Severe shortages of stock items
  • Inconsistent quality control

It now appears that Laser Performance Europe wish to flout intellectual property laws and additionally that ILCA wishes its members to collude in this activity by:-


1/ encouraging its members to vote YES to 2011 Fundamental Rule Changes

and

2/ utilising class membership fees to engage lawyers who specialise in the exploitation of intellectual property laws

The ILCA 2011 Handbook discourages cheating and states that "Cheating is doing something you know is illegal", yet ILCA's members are being encouraged to sanction the cheating of a legitimate owner of intellectual property rights.

I understand that the holding company of Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia is well funded.

So what I think the real question should be is:- Who do ILCA members want supplying and supporting their sport of Laser sailing into the future?

Vote YES:- A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat.

You choose.

As for the name of your toy? Do you really care, as long as you still get to play with it…….











#48 Radial Reality

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:43 AM

A UK Perspective

If it wasn't for Bruce Kirby none of us would be here discussing this issue. His views on the matter will undoubtedly prove enlightening and pivotal.

Why did Bruce Kirby deem Global Sailing to be the appropriate entity to continue his global legacy of the Laser sailing dinghy, and to protect the interests of Laser sailors?

I am reliably informed that Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia are owned by the same family.

As far as I can see, this is a corporate battle between Performance Sailcraft Australasia and Laser Performance Europe, with Laser sailors being utilised as the pawns.

Over the past decade, Laser sailors in the UK have observed that Laser Performance Europe appear poorly managed, exhibit symptoms of severe financial difficulties, and treat their retail customers, corporate clients, suppliers, dealers, contractors and employees with disdain. This has resulted in the liquidation of numerous companies in the UK leisure marine sector, and significant dissatisfaction and frustration throughout the LPE customer base. All of the above can be confirmed by numerous individuals and companies.

The resultant impact on ILCA members can be summarized as follows:-

  • Chronically poor customer service
  • Severe shortages of stock items
  • Inconsistent quality control

It now appears that Laser Performance Europe wish to flout intellectual property laws and additionally that ILCA wishes its members to collude in this activity by:-


1/ encouraging its members to vote YES to 2011 Fundamental Rule Changes

and

2/ utilising class membership fees to engage lawyers who specialise in the exploitation of intellectual property laws

The ILCA 2011 Handbook discourages cheating and states that "Cheating is doing something you know is illegal", yet ILCA's members are being encouraged to sanction the cheating of a legitimate owner of intellectual property rights.

I understand that the holding company of Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia is well funded.

So what I think the real question should be is:- Who do ILCA members want supplying and supporting their sport of Laser sailing into the future?

Vote YES:- A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat.

You choose.

As for the name of your toy? Do you really care, as long as you still get to play with it…….


Dude! No love lost on LP fer sure.

But is the choice as simple as you make it? I read that LP owns the trademarks so the totally bitchin New Zealand company can't sell Lasers in the UK.

Your choices should be:

Vote YES: A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy but which can sell you a Laser just like all the other ones out there

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat but that can't sell a real Laser anywhere outside of Australia and New Zealand.

#49 RobbieB

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:54 AM

A UK Perspective

If it wasn't for Bruce Kirby none of us would be here discussing this issue. His views on the matter will undoubtedly prove enlightening and pivotal.

Why did Bruce Kirby deem Global Sailing to be the appropriate entity to continue his global legacy of the Laser sailing dinghy, and to protect the interests of Laser sailors?

I am reliably informed that Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia are owned by the same family.

As far as I can see, this is a corporate battle between Performance Sailcraft Australasia and Laser Performance Europe, with Laser sailors being utilised as the pawns.

Over the past decade, Laser sailors in the UK have observed that Laser Performance Europe appear poorly managed, exhibit symptoms of severe financial difficulties, and treat their retail customers, corporate clients, suppliers, dealers, contractors and employees with disdain. This has resulted in the liquidation of numerous companies in the UK leisure marine sector, and significant dissatisfaction and frustration throughout the LPE customer base. All of the above can be confirmed by numerous individuals and companies.

The resultant impact on ILCA members can be summarized as follows:-

  • Chronically poor customer service
  • Severe shortages of stock items
  • Inconsistent quality control

It now appears that Laser Performance Europe wish to flout intellectual property laws and additionally that ILCA wishes its members to collude in this activity by:-


1/ encouraging its members to vote YES to 2011 Fundamental Rule Changes

and

2/ utilising class membership fees to engage lawyers who specialise in the exploitation of intellectual property laws

The ILCA 2011 Handbook discourages cheating and states that "Cheating is doing something you know is illegal", yet ILCA's members are being encouraged to sanction the cheating of a legitimate owner of intellectual property rights.

I understand that the holding company of Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australasia is well funded.

So what I think the real question should be is:- Who do ILCA members want supplying and supporting their sport of Laser sailing into the future?

Vote YES:- A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat.

You choose.

As for the name of your toy? Do you really care, as long as you still get to play with it…….








I don't seee it this way at all. From my understanding, (by reading the proposed rule) a vote "Yes" allows the ILCA to choose whatever builder they want to build the boats and any other parts of the boat. This could just as easily get them away from LPE, (and keep them tied to LPE).....I see their explanation as saying, "We have 2 builders having a fight that could be very bad for the class. In order to keep the boats built as we know them we, (ILCA) need to have the power to decide who builds the boats to insure the integrity of the design, build and class." If approved the ILCA can also fire a builder just as easy as hire them.

#50 Laser Tag

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:03 AM

Vote YES:- A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat.



I really dont have a dog in this fight. But this seems a less than unbiased portrayal. I dont see anywhere that Laser members are being asked to vote on any one company.

If the Laser leadership has already decided to approve Laser Performance Europe as the sole global builder then they should come out and say so.

One reading seems to be
YES: The Laser class members and ISAF approve builders.
NO : A company in NZ (whoever they are) approves builders.

But its not clear because its not clear whether the class association also shares the rights to the trade mark. If LPE is so bad then the class members should direct their class leaders to appoint another supplier.

So direct question for the class. Will this vote allow the class to appoint another supplier other than LPE if LPE doesnt meet standards?

#51 redstar

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:07 AM

Somebody posted on here an official announcement by ILCA. They were totally transparent as to who they are and what their agenda is. Whether you like their agenda or not, they don't try to suggest that they are anybody other than ILCA. However, Chris Caldecoat comes on here and doesn't declare his interest, which is significant and material. I was certainly taken in, believing he was independent and therefore his view was independent. He positioned himself as "an Advisory Council member who "voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity." In fact, it seems like he voted against it because it harms his business. That is dishonest.


Chris says in his post that he's GM of Performance Sailcraft Australia. Looks like he has declared his interest to me.

And if you honestly think that ILCA are being transparent and honest about their agenda, you really are a fool.

This is a shitfight between two companies. ILCA, who are meant to be independent and representative of their member's interests, appear to be siding with one company over another. They have provided no opportunity for both perspectives to be aired, and have pushed their members to vote quickly before the full stories come out. As usual there is absolutely no engagement with the class membership.

I don't know yet which vote is best for the class, but I know for sure that I wouldn't be trusting ILCA's advice without a lot more information. Hopefully some of that will be coming from both sides soon.

With regards to the 'design rights' etc, the ILCA offered to buy them from Bruce Kirby when he retired a couple of years back, but they were worth a lot more than what the class could afford. I don't know the legal details, but all this talk of them not having any legal standing has got to be wrong - back when Kirby was selling them, all parties were ready to throw serious cash around to acquire them. I'm sure they would have checked at the time to make sure they were actually worth something.

#52 Sailabout

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:19 AM

why dont we just have someone build a BAZER
Byte rigging in a lasEr and then you will have a decent boat and buy class legal sails from anyone.

Someone does build a lasEr rip off in Europe as I have seen them at rental schools in Italy.
The guys tel me they are 50% of a lasEr cost all parts fit they just have a sloping transom to get around the its a splshed hull.

#53 The Advocate

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:39 AM



I don't have a dog in this fight but would like to make one observation.

First @Chris Caldecoat
You are a complete dickhead. To come on this forum, when you are one of the protagonists in this mess, and solicit certain actions (or non action) without declaring your interest shows you to be somebody who cannot be trusted and it is no suprise there is this mess. It is also totally disrespectful to this community.

If you had come on here, declared your interest and set oyt your case, you might have win a lot of friends. As it is, I suspect you have done more harm than good, and deservedly so.


No worse, IMHO, then what ILCA is doing, telling everyone to "VOTE NOW" and telling us why we should vote YES, without giving us the full story....

Somebody posted on here an official announcement by ILCA. They were totally transparent as to who they are and what their agenda is. Whether you like their agenda or not, they don't try to suggest that they are anybody other than ILCA. However, Chris Caldecoat comes on here and doesn't declare his interest, which is significant and material. I was certainly taken in, believing he was independent and therefore his view was independent. He positioned himself as "an Advisory Council member who "voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity." In fact, it seems like he voted against it because it harms his business. That is dishonest.

I have know Chris for a hell of a long time, he is not a dickhead.

I believe he did declare his interests by stating his position and the company he works for.

How much detail do you require?

#54 NSE

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:51 AM

this answers some questions

http://www.sail-worl...uce-Kirby/81938

#55 BoatSlut

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:51 AM

From our friends at sail-world

"Laser Class major rule change – A disaster says Bruce Kirby"

http://www.sail-worl...uce-Kirby/81938

#56 Radial Reality

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:19 AM

So, like, doncha think sail-world should disclose their relationship with PSA before writing an article like that? (like, who does news for PSA?)
Rumor on some internet board that Bruce Kirby is on retainer to Global Sailing, any truth?
No bias there, eh?

#57 NSE

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:39 AM

So, like, doncha think sail-world should disclose their relationship with PSA before writing an article like that? (like, who does news for PSA?)
Rumor on some internet board that Bruce Kirby is on retainer to Global Sailing, any truth?
No bias there, eh?



Since its launch at the New York Boat Show in 1971, over 200,000 Lasers have been sold. The strength of the class comes from its rigid one design rules that designer Bruce Kirby approved 40 years ago.

This week, the International Laser Class Association has asked its membership to mmediately vote YES on a fundamental rule change, probably the most important one in the history of the class. It would have a major change on the class structure.


In a document distributed to ILCA members worldwide the Laser Class Association amongst the arguments for voting Yes said –
‘ a builder also needs a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. This provision is mostly historical. The rule was instituted at a time when Bruce Kirby held certain design rights. The ILCA is not a party to any of these 'Kirby' agreements.

‘We also took legal advice. We understand this is the only possible solution in order to promote the uninterrupted supply of class legal Laser boats and to maintain ILCA in its current set-up. The lawyers also informed us that the Kirby design patents had in fact expired.

‘Therefore, we are proposing to change the rule to eliminate the 'building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc' requirement.

The deadline for all votes is 23rd September 2011. PLEASE DO NOT DELAY YOUR VOTE


When this document reached the Laser sailors computers world-wide there was a flood of positive votes, the US based Laser Forum site
www.Laserforum.com first post was ‘This is a No brainer’, but quite quickly thereafter questioning began. It rapidly became clear that this was a much more complex issue than that which the ILCA stated.

Posted ImageBruce Kirby - Neil Rabinowitz Click Here to view large photo


We decided to talk to Bruce Kirby. ‘Two and a half years ago, I sold my rights to the New Zealanders, the Spencer families’ Global Sailing. I am 82 as you know, and this move was what you would call estate planning.

‘The Spencers have been building Lasers through Performance Sailcraft Australasia for umpteen years. I simply figured the Spencers had the good of the class in mind - far more so than anyone else that was on the horizon - and that they would do the best job in looking after the class and promoting it and enhancing it.

‘Now it would appear that Laser Performance Europe doesn’t want to recognize the fact that this transfer has taken place. It is really weird because they paid the royalties to Global Sailing for two years as they were supposed to do, and then all of a sudden they stopped doing that. That action has caused issues between LSE and Global Sailing and they will have to sort it out.’

What was his response to the ILCA statement ‘Lawyers also informed us that the Kirby design patent has in fact expired.’

Kirby responded. ‘That’s total bull s--t! There never were any patents. You can't patent a sail boat design. These were contracts, legitimate contracts drawn up by lawyers and there is no suggestion that I had a patent on the boat. These were long term contracts that were renewable every so many years. No-one’s ever questioned them so I don’t know what lawyer they found that suggested this course of action. It’s crazy!’

What about the ILCA statement 'We also took legal advice the above rules changes where the only possible solution in order to promote the uninterrupted supply of class legal Laser boats' ?

Kirby again ‘That’s nonsense too because the Spencers through Global Sailing have virtually guaranteed an uninterrupted supply. They have allowed LSE to go ahead and produce boats even though they don’t have a proper contract at this time, but in order to keep an uninterrupted supply of boats Global has allowed them to continue producing without a contract.’

The ILCA document continues 'Therefore, we are proposing to change the rule to eliminate the 'building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc' requirement.'.

Kirby was firm on that suggestion. ‘Global Sailing owns those rights. If this rule change was to come into play, it would be a disaster - to suddenly expose all designers who want to have international Class boats to a major legal precedent.

‘Just imagine that with the 49er, the J Boats, the Farr designs, all kinds of people, all kinds of designers.

‘Imagine an International Class voting to set aside commercial rights that have been in force for 30 or 40 years. Can you imagine what would happen in a legal case?

‘I am amazed that this has come up. I made a very considered choice as to who I would like to look after the rights of the designer, builders and Laser sailors. I chose the Spencer family because they are long time builders. They are financially secure and have been dedicated sailors for generations. It’s not something I did lightly and I did it for the good of the class.’

Kirby summed up by saying ‘This proposed rule change would be a disaster for the Class. If Laser sailors have voted without knowing more than was in the ILCA 'Vote Yes' document, they should ask for their vote to be cancelled.

‘They have plenty of time to vote again – the deadline is September 23rd - when they are sure they understand all the issues.’

Sail-World.com is continuing to interview the key players and we will have more in the coming days.
<BR clear=all>
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World.com Team Share 11:28 AM Fri 1 Apr 2011





#58 Radial Reality

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:37 AM

Dude! I'm missing the disclaimer(s)? Can you dig them out of all those long sentances?

#59 dogwatch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:42 AM

However, Chris Caldecoat comes on here and doesn't declare his interest, which is significant and material. I was certainly taken in, believing he was independent and therefore his view was independent. He positioned himself as "an Advisory Council member who "voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity." In fact, it seems like he voted against it because it harms his business. That is dishonest.


That's bollocks. He signed himself:

Chris Caldecoat
GM
Performance Sailcraft Australia Pty Ltd

You are a bright guy. If you could not be bothered to take in the implications of that signature, more fool you.

#60 dogwatch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:46 AM

So, like, doncha think sail-world should disclose their relationship with PSA before writing an article like that? (like, who does news for PSA?)
Rumor on some internet board that Bruce Kirby is on retainer to Global Sailing, any truth?
No bias there, eh?


So what's your bias then?

#61 dogwatch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:51 AM

A UK Perspective

(snip)

Vote YES:- A UK based company which is inefficient, disruptive and unreliable, apparently with unmanageable debts, and supposedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Vote NO:- A New Zealand based company which is financially sound, well managed and has ambitious plans for the future of Laser sailing, and is endorsed by the designer of the boat.


Enquiring minds might wonder why a "UK perspective", if that is really what you bring, should be so keen on promoting a New Zealand company rather that a UK-based one.

#62 JimC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:10 AM

Enquiring minds might wonder why a "UK perspective", if that is really what you bring, should be so keen on promoting a New Zealand company rather that a UK-based one.

Perhaps he doesn't like the English company? It wouldn't be entirely suprising to see both Europeans and Antipodeans being negative about the local company they have to deal with and more positive about the one the far side of the world: distance can add a rosy tint to the old spectacles. I've never noticed UK based sailing forums being exactly full of posts extolling the virtues of PSE.

Rumor on some internet board that Bruce Kirby is on retainer to Global Sailing, any truth?

In the described circumstances it would be extraordinary if he didn't have some kind of consultancy relationship with Global Sailing.

The enthusiasm with which some of you lot want to see financial corruption every time someone posts a view that opposes their own is, well, I suppose, probably inevitable now I think about the way internet conspiracy theories go...

#63 Sloan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:13 AM

How about everyone respect the wishes of Bruce Kirby.

He managed to design and establish the most popular dinghy ever made. He may be older now, but I am sure he is more than capable of making the correct decision. I would defer to his judgment on this. He would have had good reasons for choosing to place his trust in one organisation over another.

I very much doubt he made any decision with money being his primary consideration. I am sure he was trying to see to it that the class could continue to prosper long after his death.

If he says that a No vote is the one that is in accordance with with his arrangements and his wishes one should ask why is it that the ILCA is pushing an opposing view and why did they seem to imply that you should not delay your vote.

Why should the European builder be exempted from his financial obligations and why should the membership be drawn into this.

I would be very interested to know for how much the rights now under discussion were being sold and if the money could have been found through debt, why did the class did not purchase them. They could have earned the class royalties, which surely would have gone some way, over time to returning that money and paying down any debt..

Clearly a commercial concern considered them valuable enough to purchase. Was Bruce Kirby doing nothing but shopping around for the highest price and how much more would he have gotten from Global Sailing compared to the ILCA or whoever.

All I would say to those involved is this, be careful or you may both lose the goose that laid the golden egg. All parties involved have a responsibility and obligation to the sailors who you serve.

Less tactfully I would say, wake up to yourselves you greedy bastards.

#64 Sloan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:19 AM


Enquiring minds might wonder why a "UK perspective", if that is really what you bring, should be so keen on promoting a New Zealand company rather that a UK-based one.

Perhaps he doesn't like the English company? It wouldn't be entirely suprising to see both Europeans and Antipodeans being negative about the local company they have to deal with and more positive about the one the far side of the world: distance can add a rosy tint to the old spectacles. I've never noticed UK based sailing forums being exactly full of posts extolling the virtues of PSE.


I have dealt with both and my experiences have been better in Australia than in Europe when dealing with both the dealer network and in the past, the factory.

#65 Sailabout

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:02 AM

just remind me how big the classes are where you can build your own boat;
tornado
star
etc...

#66 sosoomii

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:35 AM

Latest news:
http://www.performancesailing.com/update$20

A representative from GS and LPE will race off in a best of three series to determine who will get the build rights.

#67 dogwatch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:42 AM

just remind me how big the classes are where you can build your own boat;


British Nationals attendances http://www.yachtsand...m/classes/?s=44

6 out of top 10 classes are multi-manufacturer, the other 4 are single manufacturer. So your thesis that only single manufacturer classes get out big numbers doesn't stack up, at least not around here.

#68 frostbit

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:56 AM

Bruce Kirby is/should be a hero for every sailor who loves this sport. He designed a fantastic affordable boat that some of the world's best sailors cut their teeth on. Even into his 80's he has been racing.

He sold his rights to a company he felt would be a good steward for an iconic boat and a dynamic class. What is being proposed is a disintegration of a global class and the destruction of value for one of the best most loved boat designs ever.

Who will be the next Bruce Kirby if the Laser is destroyed by it's own sailors and class members? Why would any designer bother to go the extra mile to make something great when the wolves stand ready to rip it apart?

The members of the Laser class should rise up and elect some leadership that does better than this.

#69 Al.

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

How about everyone respect the wishes of Bruce Kirby.

He managed to design and establish the most popular dinghy ever made. He may be older now, but I am sure he is more than capable of making the correct decision. I would defer to his judgment on this. He would have had good reasons for choosing to place his trust in one organisation over another.

I hold no candle for the Laser as a class or boat, but can't help but feel that the ILCA and LPE being left out of the loop when he sold the design rights is what has led to this situation. The popularity of his baby rather means that making big moves about its future should not have been down to just him- he should have had a say, but consultation would have been better.

I very much doubt he made any decision with money being his primary consideration. I am sure he was trying to see to it that the class could continue to prosper long after his death.

But he pretty much said it was about the money...

If he says that a No vote is the one that is in accordance with with his arrangements and his wishes one should ask why is it that the ILCA is pushing an opposing view and why did they seem to imply that you should not delay your vote.

Because they're being shady as well. It's a situation where neither side is right.

#70 dogwatch

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:04 PM

Why would any designer bother to go the extra mile to make something great when the wolves stand ready to rip it apart?


Come off it. One thing this sport doesn't lack is designers pushing their latest brain-child into the marketplace.

#71 frostbit

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:24 PM

Reply to Dogwatch-

For now, I agree. Let's see how long that lasts if any class association can copy the design, rename it and stop paying royalties.

#72 Laser Tag

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:38 PM


From Bruce Kirby

There never were any patents. You can't patent a sail boat design. These were contracts, legitimate contracts drawn up by lawyers and there is no suggestion that I had a patent on the boat. These were long term contracts that were renewable every so many years



This pretty much removes the debate about copyright or patent rights.

I hinted earlier that I would not be surprised to see contract law enter the stage. There are a whole quiver of questions that we would need answers to before we formed opinions on who owes what under contract. Purely a guess but I suspect this will be limited to a dispute between the builders. I doubt that ICLA was ever party to a contract .

The only intellectual property at stake here is the trademark. I note from the class website that all the builder parties are trademark holders so they can all carry on building Lasers.

Just to stir the pot. The original clause in the Laser class rules may not have been enforceable. For various legal reasons the typical legal entity that is used for ISAF class associations may not collect a royalty or contractual payment on behalf of a class officer or member (and in many situations any related 3rd party). While it is perfectly legitimate for a class association to approve or choose a builder, it is almost invariably not legitimate for the class association to require that builder to make a payment to a class member or officer. The class can collect a fee that the class spends itself to benefit the objectives of the association, but they cannot collect a fee or assist in the collection of a fee on behalf of someone else. Strictly speaking a class association cannot pass a rule which says Fred can be a builder as long as he pays a fee to Johnny, (unless that CA is a tax paying, for profit corporation with appropriate articles) .
Both Laser Performance and Performance Sailcraft (the Spencers) are represented on the world council and are involved in the governance of the Class Association.



#73 jwlbrace

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:52 PM

The RiskDisk (UK credit management system) gives some pretty interesting information on Laserperformance (Europe) Limited

Including the following statement for the "principal activities", which no doubt was transcribed from the Auditors report:

The exploitation of trademark and copyright agreements for the supply, distribution and sale of "Laser" and "Dart" sailing boats and related spares and accessories.

Seems to suggest they acknowledge another party actually 'owns' these rights to me, otherwise who are the "agreements" with....

As for the financials... download your own copy that might shed a little light on the situation ;)

#74 Gonçalo Silva

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:59 PM

Three "different" boat classes may emerge from this dispute!? C'mon...
What about the Laser lobby around the world specially in the Olympics? Are you serious?

The fact is that a lot of new parts are being built for lasers, and they are not getting any cheaper. The Laser is no longer a cheap boat to campaign around the country (if compared with other solo dinghies off course).

Class Associations should be worried of important thigns such as the costs for the sailors and equalizing equipments (I think that's what's called ONE DESIGN)

Patents, royalties, builder rights, we know who is really payng for that - THE SAILORS!

#75 Sailabout

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:06 PM


just remind me how big the classes are where you can build your own boat;


British Nationals attendances http://www.yachtsand...m/classes/?s=44

6 out of top 10 classes are multi-manufacturer, the other 4 are single manufacturer. So your thesis that only single manufacturer classes get out big numbers doesn't stack up, at least not around here.

meaning licensed builders who are paying someone to build them
therefore your results agree with me 100%

#76 Laser Tag

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:17 PM

Reply to Dogwatch-

For now, I agree. Let's see how long that lasts if any class association can copy the design, rename it and stop paying royalties.



Class Associations don't pay royalties. Builders pay royalties.
A builder gets a 10 year head start. After that anyone can splash a hull. It usually doesn't work because a commercially minded builder has registered the trade mark and organized the support of a club for owners of boats built by that builder.

#77 Sailabout

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:21 PM


Reply to Dogwatch-

For now, I agree. Let's see how long that lasts if any class association can copy the design, rename it and stop paying royalties.



Class Associations don't pay royalties. Builders pay royalties.
A builder gets a 10 year head start. After that anyone can splash a hull. It usually doesn't work because a commercially minded builder has registered the trade mark and organized the support of a club for owners of boats built by that builder.

yes that works as the organisation says only x y and z boats are legal when the organisations says any boat is legal it looks like where laser is heading now
is your boat built by laser? no its a widget buts its a laser class boat!

#78 jwlbrace

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:48 PM

I don't have a dog in this fight but would like to make one observation.

First @Chris Caldecoat
You are a complete dickhead. To come on this forum, when you are one of the protagonists in this mess, and solicit certain actions (or non action) without declaring your interest shows you to be somebody who cannot be trusted and it is no suprise there is this mess. It is also totally disrespectful to this community.

If you had come on here, declared your interest and set oyt your case, you might have win a lot of friends. As it is, I suspect you have done more harm than good, and deservedly so.



Quite agree Simon- commercial interest needs to be declared, but give the chap the benefit of the doubt for a second and let him ask the rhetorical question if there are "gaps" in the story.

It's quite clear from a bit digging and report downloading that the situation is far from rosy at PSE. Allegedly they blew Holt off the market simply by sitting on invoices last year, how much is Hyde and North in for if the holding companies go debt shredding? What's the impact on the rest of the industry?

This is without question a corporate shit fight that could end up with a bit a nasty fallout, especially if the ILCA backs the wrong horse...

interesting times.

If I were in the class I'd be listening very closely to Kirby and not jumping the gun with the voting.

#79 Al.

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:33 PM

I'd take what Kirby said into consideration- but I don't think any party is exactly showing their full hand.

#80 jwlbrace

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:14 PM

Well I'm no fan of Laser, the boat or the establishment that surrounds it, but I've always maintained it has its place... if I were sailing a Laser, well firstly I'd probably be in the 90% of owners who won't get a vote in this as they're not iLCA members, but anyway, if I did have a vote/say, then I'd be backing the Aussies and sticking with the Kirby intention... for what it's worth anyway.

#81 obelix

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:22 PM

I am really suspicious of the way ILCA are urging people to vote without delay. They haven't provided enough information and they seem to be trying to sneak something through to suit their own way of thinking in an underhand way by hoodwinking people. They may genuinely have, and believe they have, the sailors' interests at heart, but this isn't the way of going about it

#82 Radial Reality

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:38 PM

So what's your bias then?


I wanna go sailing in my Laser, that's my bias.

Predictable Sailing Anarchy sheeple immediately spoon feed from a "news source" that has a relationship with PSA.

Dudes! Two companies with a business agreement can't figure out how to settle their problems. They force the Laser Class to try to figure out how to protect its sailors. Then one of the warring companies launches a PR campaign to make the Laser Class look like the bad guys.

What idiots!

The same people moaning about the Laser Class taking action are exactly the same people who would be moaning if the Laser Class did nothing and then the fight between the builders resulted in the death of the class.

Engage brains to think for yourselves. It can be done. Bruce Kirby sells company for more money than ILCA can afford - motivated by altruism? I think not. Sail-World launches a negative series of articles but doesn't tell you it is connected with PSA. Should their word be gospel?

In the real world, if company A has a dispute with company B over contracts between the two that are independent of company C, how can company C be liable? If A is "right", why don't they simply sue B? If they are so clearly right why wouldn't they win before ever going to trial?

In my little world I think both companies need a good spanking. I think the Laser Class is taking a good first step towards independence.

#83 Laser Tag

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 05:38 PM

This from the US Laser Class president (and world council member) who is patiently answering questions to the best of his knowledge on the Laser Class forums

Once long ago the Design Rights owner and the Trademark holder were one in the same... but they they went bankrupt and during receivership the various pieces were dispersed to the wind

In today's world, that means that Laser Performance (LP) owns the trademark rights for the word "Laser" and the Starburst symbol in North and South America, all of Europe, Africa and most of Asia. Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) owns the trademark rights for Australia, New Zealand and a few pacific islands. Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) owns the trademark rights for Japan and South Korea. These are the three existing manufacturers in their respective regions.

Some time in 2009 Bruce Kirby elected to sell Bruce Kirby Inc. so that he could enjoy a well deserved retirement. A company called Global Sailing bought Bruce Kirby Inc. They are based in New Zealand and owned by the same family that own PSA .

I do not know the root cause of the dispute between Global Sailing/PSA and LaserPerformance, nor do I know of any progress in their attempts to resolve it.

ISAF authorizes ILCA to issue the plaques to the builders, under the current rules it must do so with Global Sailing's "permission". The change to the Fundamental Rule would allow plaques to be issued, while ILCA would continue to forward the royalty to Global Sailing (as I understand it).

I believe it (the rule change) allows ILCA to operate without caring about agreements it already doesn't know about. So, LPE is a Laser builder, they build boats according to the Laser Construction Manual that is "owned" by the Laser Class (and it is), GS gets a royalty for every boat LPE builds, ILCA doesn't care about agreements between GS and LPE that we already don't have access to.




#84 sandgrounder

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:45 PM

What Could Happen

Scenario 1 – The YES vote

Two thirds or more of the ILCA membership approve the proposed Class Rule changes to the Fundamental Rule and the Definition of Builder.

Subsequently, Global Sailing initiate legal proceedings against LPE over unpaid royalties, and infringement of copyright agreements.

Presumably, as LPE are no longer able to pay these royalties, and given the current financial status of the company, it's unlikely they would be able to match Global Sailing in a court of law. Even should they have the ability to put together a robust legal defence of their current position, it's unlikely that they'd win the case.

By this time Global Sailing have embarked upon global distribution of the "Kirby" class dinghy, identical in every way to the "Laser" class dinghy, apart from the logo on the sail.

Once LPE enters insolvency the receivers will be happy to obtain a fair price for the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea) from Global Sailing, who will now be able to legally distribute "Laser" class dinghies throughout the aforementioned territories. Any "Kirby" class dinghies can now be converted to "Laser" class dinghies simply by amending the logo on the sail, if so desired by the owner.

Scenario 2 – The NO vote

Less than two thirds of the ILCA membership approve the proposed Class Rule changes to the Fundamental Rule and the Definition of Builder.

Subsequently, Global Sailing initiate legal proceedings against LPE over unpaid royalties, and infringement of copyright agreements.

Presumably, as LPE are no longer able to pay these royalties, and given the current financial status of the company, it's unlikely they would be able to match Global Sailing in a court of law. Even should they have the ability to put together a robust legal defence of their current position, it's unlikely that they'd win the case.

By this time Global Sailing have embarked upon global distribution of the "Kirby" class dinghy, identical in every way to the "Laser" class dinghy, apart from the logo on the sail.

Once LPE enters insolvency the receivers will be happy to obtain a fair price for the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea) from Global Sailing, who will now be able to legally distribute "Laser" class dinghies throughout the aforementioned territories. Any "Kirby" class dinghies can now be converted to "Laser" class dinghies simply by amending the logo on the sail, if so desired by the owner.


So the only unanswered question is:- How much money are ILCA, LPE and Global Sailing going to inject into the global legal system, and by how much will this raise the cost of our game?

#85 POH

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:07 PM


So what's your bias then?


Then one of the warring companies launches a PR campaign to make the Laser Class look like the bad guys.


The Laser Class are a bunch of idiots for handling this in the way they have.

#86 SimonN

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:15 PM


However, Chris Caldecoat comes on here and doesn't declare his interest, which is significant and material. I was certainly taken in, believing he was independent and therefore his view was independent. He positioned himself as "an Advisory Council member who "voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity." In fact, it seems like he voted against it because it harms his business. That is dishonest.


That's bollocks. He signed himself:

Chris Caldecoat
GM
Performance Sailcraft Australia Pty Ltd

You are a bright guy. If you could not be bothered to take in the implications of that signature, more fool you.

Can you please tell me how I was supposed to know, from that signiture, that Performance Sailcraft Australia is owned by the same people as Global Sailing? As you say, I am a bright guy ;) and I can see nothing there that tells me that. However, I can see he positions himself as an Advisory Council member who voted against because "this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity". He fails to mention that it is not in the best interests of the companies he represents! I call that pretty shady at best, totally dishonest at worst.

#87 Radial Reality

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:31 PM

Can you please tell me how I was supposed to know, from that signiture, that Performance Sailcraft Australia is owned by the same people as Global Sailing? As you say, I am a bright guy ;) and I can see nothing there that tells me that. However, I can see he positions himself as an Advisory Council member who voted against because "this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity". He fails to mention that it is not in the best interests of the companies he represents! I call that pretty shady at best, totally dishonest at worst.


Dude! Idiots-r-me but I was able to find this: ILCA World Council and Advisory Council

#88 JimC

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:47 PM

Can you please tell me how I was supposed to know, from that signiture, that Performance Sailcraft Australia is owned by the same people as Global Sailing?


Rotten 'ell Simon, you want everyone in the marine trade to quote not only who they work for but also every frigging shareholder of the company they work for and every other company those shareholders also have shares in? Because that's the logical end of what you're saying... It was obvious to me that as an employee of a company that *wasn't* having a big s***fight with Global Sailing he could have something to gain if PSE got thrown out as Laser builders and therefore he had a dog in the fight. Anyone who didn't think he had a dog in the fight really has a problem with reading comprehension. Whether the dog is a poodle or a rottweiler is largely irrelevant in conspiracytheoryland

#89 SimonN

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:00 PM


Can you please tell me how I was supposed to know, from that signiture, that Performance Sailcraft Australia is owned by the same people as Global Sailing? As you say, I am a bright guy ;) and I can see nothing there that tells me that. However, I can see he positions himself as an Advisory Council member who voted against because "this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity". He fails to mention that it is not in the best interests of the companies he represents! I call that pretty shady at best, totally dishonest at worst.


Dude! Idiots-r-me but I was able to find this: ILCA World Council and Advisory Council

2 questions for you. First, why should I check out the background of everybody who posts on here? Have you checked to see if I have any links to LPE (I haven't!)? Secondly, please help a simple person understand what is going on. I cannot see the name "Chris Caldecoat" listed on that link. The only Chris from Australia is a Chris Spencer. Having read the above, I now know that the Spencer family own both PSA and Global Sailing. However, the page you sent me to doesn't tell us of the link between PSA and Global Sailing. So, what's going on?

It was obvious to me that as an employee of a company that *wasn't* having a big s***fight with Global Sailing he could have something to gain if PSE got thrown out as Laser builders and therefore he had a dog in the fight.

Jim
Thanks for proving my point. You seem to have missed the key fact. This guy is an employee of the owners of Global Sailing. His people are the ones having the shit fight with PSE. He is not a 3rd party to this. In addition, PSA will not gain out of PSE get thrown out as builder as they don't have rights to the regions that PSE has the rights to. This battle is about payment of royalties by PSE to Global Sailing.

The sad thing is that it seems to me that there are a couple of things going on. I do think that Global Sailing appears to be in the right (which makes it stranger that Chris didn't state his ties to them) but I am not yet convinced that ILCA is as in the wrong as some are making out. It seems to me that nothing in the proposed rule change actually changes Global Sailing's rights to royalties. I think all this does is ensures that PSE doesn't break away from the ISAF/ILCA fold and do it's own thing, which would be very divisive. I suspect that this move protects the class in another way. While at this time it seems that Global Sailing is the injured party, imagine a situation where they withheld a builders agreement from any builder, for any unreasonable reason. Under current rules, that would mean that any Laser built by that builder weren't, in fact, Lasers.

The downside is that this rule change gives the impression that ILCA is siding with PSE. I am not convinced that is true. It could be argued that it takes away one of Global Sailing's cards, but I cannot see how it actually changes their legal position. The ILCA rules have no bearing on the legal rights of the "rights holders". What this rule change seems to do is to remove ILCA and the class rules from being used as a weapon in a legal dispute, a weapon where the party that would suffer the most is the ILCA, or, to be more precise, the people it represents, the sailors of the class.

What have I missed?

#90 Wavedancer II

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 12:13 AM

Thought provoking post!

However, I would like clarification about your second point:

2. There is no legal reason to have a deal with Kirby.

Why then would Global Sailing execute an agreement with Kirby and pay him a few million bucks (my estimate)? :) I doubt the Brooklyn Bridge was included :). In fact, the deal was too expensive for ILCA to pursue, we have been told.
I tend to believe that the 'deal' between Kirby and Global Sailing involved certain rights that require builders to pay a fee to Global Sailing.
The nature of these rights hasn't really been disclosed (and must be confidential), but could involve trademark rights, copyrights and certain design parameters that are not patented.

#91 Radial Reality

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:12 AM

but I don't know much about this stuff.

An astonishing admission from the self-proclaimed rudder that guides our boat!

:P

6. Removal of the Kirby agreement rule leaves teh ILCA with a bunch of diagrams and rules but nothing that really sufficiently defines the boats except the boats must be Builder suplied.

Dude! What about that thingy called the Laser Construction Manual? Isn't that what makes a Laser really a Laser?

8. I think the abdication of the Kirby agreement requirement leaves nothing as an obstacle for anyboldy who feels like providing lasers but the Logo and starburst

Dude! Is it really a Laser to all of us wannabe Laserites if it isn't called a Laser and doesn't have the starburst logo?

9. Without the Kirby agreement provision, I think anybody who feels like building sailboats for laser races can simply build a boat that is just like a Laser and sell it to anybody who wants to buy one. That buyer could then hang logos on the boat for personal use

I hear ya! We don't want crap like this!

#92 Radial Reality

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:26 AM

I tend to believe that the 'deal' between Kirby and Global Sailing involved certain rights that require builders to pay a fee to Global Sailing.
The nature of these rights hasn't really been disclosed (and must be confidential), but could involve trademark rights, copyrights and certain design parameters that are not patented.


Dude! The rule change sez:

Laser Performance Europe (LPE), one of the manufacturers, which holds the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea)


How do you conclude that Kirby holds the trademark rights?

and besides saying the sky is falling, Bruce Kirby sez:

They have allowed LPE to go ahead and produce boats even though they don't have a proper contract at this time, but in order to keep an uninterrupted supply of boats Global has allowed them to continue producing without a contract.'


That last sentence says LP is producing boats without a contract, they must already be illegal by the current Class Rules! Shhhh! Don't tell ILCA! If LP owns the trademarks then that means no more Lasers in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

#93 RobG

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:01 AM

It seems quite reasonable that the ILCA wants to remove itself from being "piggy-in-the-middle" in this dispute. If GSA owns Kirby Inc, and Kirby Inc owns the copyright for the Laser design, then no one can build a boat that is sufficiently similar to pass class rules without infringing the copyright of that design. So if anyone builds (and probably in some jurisdictions sells) a class legal boat without permission they can expect action from GSA/Kirby who will be protecting their property. And if builders don't abide by the conditions of their licence or agreement (such as paying a royalty) then they are likely in breech and no longer have permission to build class legal boats. Ownership of the trademark is irrelevant if you don't have a product to stick it on.

The agreement between Kirby Inc and other builders doesn't need to be in the class rules unless the intention is to enforce Kirby Inc's rights after the expiry of their copyright in the design. The dispute is only relevant to ILCA to the extent that it may increase the cost and disrupt the availability of new boats and parts. No doubt they want to be removed from a likely costly and lengthy legal proceeding.

I don't own a Laser and probably never will, but I would vote yes and let the protagonists sort it out themselves. ILCA should just be making sure that Lasers and their parts as used in official regattas conform to the specification, they shouldn't be concerned about who is making them.

Oh, and GSA don't want the rules changed because at present, if a boat is built without a licence from GSA, it isn't class legal - I wonder how many LPE built boats are currently not legal? But why should ILCA be helping to enforce a commercial agreement between two otherwise disinterested parties?

#94 Jason AUS

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:11 AM

This from the US Laser Class president (and world council member) who is patiently answering questions to the best of his knowledge on the Laser Class forums


I believe it (the rule change) allows ILCA to operate without caring about agreements it already doesn't know about. So, LPE is a Laser builder, they build boats according to the Laser Construction Manual that is "owned" by the Laser Class (and it is), GS gets a royalty for every boat LPE builds, ILCA doesn't care about agreements between GS and LPE that we already don't have access to.


Wait, so is that like being director of a listed company that distributes toys, only your toys are made in the same factory as nuclear fuel rods and that's why your toys glow in the dark... but as directors we weren't aware of what our suppliers did (in fact, we don't really care) - so don't sue us as stewards of the company. In fact, buy MORE of our toys.

Seriously? Otherwise, what role do those elected officials of the class fulfil if it's not to be aware of what forces rule the legal & consistent supply of boats and the welfare of the class? Shit, I'd hate to go down in history as the guy who was in charge of ILCA when it all went tits up as we didn't care about the agreements between builders. How do you spell "responsibility" again?

#95 SimonN

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:31 AM


This from the US Laser Class president (and world council member) who is patiently answering questions to the best of his knowledge on the Laser Class forums


I believe it (the rule change) allows ILCA to operate without caring about agreements it already doesn't know about. So, LPE is a Laser builder, they build boats according to the Laser Construction Manual that is "owned" by the Laser Class (and it is), GS gets a royalty for every boat LPE builds, ILCA doesn't care about agreements between GS and LPE that we already don't have access to.


Wait, so is that like being director of a listed company that distributes toys, only your toys are made in the same factory as nuclear fuel rods and that's why your toys glow in the dark... but as directors we weren't aware of what our suppliers did (in fact, we don't really care) - so don't sue us as stewards of the company. In fact, buy MORE of our toys.

Seriously? Otherwise, what role do those elected officials of the class fulfil if it's not to be aware of what forces rule the legal & consistent supply of boats and the welfare of the class? Shit, I'd hate to go down in history as the guy who was in charge of ILCA when it all went tits up as we didn't care about the agreements between builders. How do you spell "responsibility" again?

Having been non the committee of 4 different International class associations, I think you wide of the mark with your analogy. The class association isn't the listed company of your example, it is an association of the users of the toys produced by that company.

And I would argue that it looks like the ILCA is actually acting to ensure supply. It's taken me a while to fully understand the position the association is in. If they don't do this, then the vast majority of Lasers being built today would be out of class. The time taken to bring in another builder, get it up to speed and re-establish the supply would be very damaging to the class. In addition, should such an event happen, you can bet there will be all sorts of law suits that would stop all Laser sales for years to come.

However, I am struggling to understand how this harms Global Sailing. Just because the class doesn't require an agreement between the 2 parties doesn't mean that PSE is allowed to abuse Global Sailing's rights. Global Sailing still has exactly the same legal recourse as before. If they have a legitimate claim, the courts will uphold that claim and ensure that PSE pays the appropriate fees. If they don't have a claim, then the rule clause is only supporting a false claim.

#96 obelix

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 12:57 PM

What Could Happen

Scenario 1 – The YES vote

Two thirds or more of the ILCA membership approve the proposed Class Rule changes to the Fundamental Rule and the Definition of Builder.

Subsequently, Global Sailing initiate legal proceedings against LPE over unpaid royalties, and infringement of copyright agreements.

Presumably, as LPE are no longer able to pay these royalties, and given the current financial status of the company, it's unlikely they would be able to match Global Sailing in a court of law. Even should they have the ability to put together a robust legal defence of their current position, it's unlikely that they'd win the case.

By this time Global Sailing have embarked upon global distribution of the "Kirby" class dinghy, identical in every way to the "Laser" class dinghy, apart from the logo on the sail.

Once LPE enters insolvency the receivers will be happy to obtain a fair price for the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea) from Global Sailing, who will now be able to legally distribute "Laser" class dinghies throughout the aforementioned territories. Any "Kirby" class dinghies can now be converted to "Laser" class dinghies simply by amending the logo on the sail, if so desired by the owner.

Scenario 2 – The NO vote

Less than two thirds of the ILCA membership approve the proposed Class Rule changes to the Fundamental Rule and the Definition of Builder.

Subsequently, Global Sailing initiate legal proceedings against LPE over unpaid royalties, and infringement of copyright agreements.

Presumably, as LPE are no longer able to pay these royalties, and given the current financial status of the company, it's unlikely they would be able to match Global Sailing in a court of law. Even should they have the ability to put together a robust legal defence of their current position, it's unlikely that they'd win the case.

By this time Global Sailing have embarked upon global distribution of the "Kirby" class dinghy, identical in every way to the "Laser" class dinghy, apart from the logo on the sail.

Once LPE enters insolvency the receivers will be happy to obtain a fair price for the Laser trademark rights for Europe, South America, Africa and Asia (excluding trademark rights owned by Performance Sailcraft Japan for Japan and South Korea) from Global Sailing, who will now be able to legally distribute "Laser" class dinghies throughout the aforementioned territories. Any "Kirby" class dinghies can now be converted to "Laser" class dinghies simply by amending the logo on the sail, if so desired by the owner.


So the only unanswered question is:- How much money are ILCA, LPE and Global Sailing going to inject into the global legal system, and by how much will this raise the cost of our game?



so did I get this right - you are currently building lasers for a company sub-contracted by LPE ? you must be confident (or not care) that your company could transfer to working for the New Zealand lot!

#97 Sailabout

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 01:50 PM

The Chinese have actually caused this as they dont have anyone big enough to sail a Laser thay want the class to become Byte class

#98 Radial Reality

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:40 PM

So much for wearing a white hat, eh?

http://www.laserforu...09&postcount=97

#99 JimC

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 06:17 PM

So much for wearing a white hat, eh?

Lesson for us all there: he made some statements which to me read as being intended as facts and were not qualified in anyway. If you are going to make noises in public in any situation that already has lawyers involved be very careful about stating they are guesses or personal opinions or whatever, not facts. Actually just be careful in those situations full stop!

#100 NYBOZO1

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:02 PM

The laser forum link above is worth reprinting......original post follows the legal threat.....

Tracy, thank you for your comment, I appreciate it. Especially after being threatened with a libel lawsuit this morning by Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr. of St. Onge Steward Johnson & Reens, LLC, attorney for Bruce Kirby, Inc. and Bruce Kirby for 2 personal opinions expressed in that post.

Anyone know how I edit a 4 day old post? I can't be bothered to put up with the hassle, though I despise the tactic. The board won't give me edit access to my post, though I am logged in.

I will also add that I am not a part of the agreement between GS and LP and, additionally, am not privileged to the details of that document. So, I have no knowledge of what GS may or may not require of LP.
Last edited by RockHead; Today at 12:41 PM..





Re: 2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule
I'm an interested 3rd party, with no dog in this fight. Don't own a Laser, don't sail a Laser, no commercial interest. However I am a class officer of a one design class that has faced a similar sort of problem, so I have some first hand experience with a nearly identical issue. The multiple trademarks rights are an interesting wrinkle though

There are a couple of key things to keep in perspective here:
1. Hull copyright is the US lasts 10 years from date of design publication or production, UK is the apparently same. I'm not 100% certain about the rest of the world, but my understanding is most countries are no better, or will abide by the home country. This hull copyright was Bruce Kirby's intellectual property (or Bruce Kirby Inc.). It has expired and most likely unenforceable anywhere in the world. This is what the ILCA says, and I believe they are correct.

2. This hull copyright is what entitles a designer to demand and receive a royalty payment on boats when built. Once it has expired, the designer has no independently enforceable right to collect a royalty.

3. The current ILCA fundamental rule essentially has extended the hull copyright/royalty agreement, by requiring that builders abide by the "Kirby agreements". This value is what Kirby sold to GS.

So, regardless of the reasons, this essentially boils down to a contract dispute. IMHO, the ILCA is rightly trying to get the class association out of the middle of the dispute between LPE and GS, by asking the members to approve a rule change that gives the ILCA more flexibility in appointing builders, and takes the class out of the role of being a pawn in the dispute between LPE and GS.

GS has no leverage to collect royalties from LPE or anyone else, without the ILCA requiring it, as they purchased rights of no real value without the enforcement of the ILCA requiring builders to abide by the "Kirby agreements". They should have realized that before writing a check to buy those rights, as it makes them FAR less valuable. The ILCA says that it is not a party to any contracts regarding these hull copyrights, so why should it be in the middle?

The real prize is the "Laser" trademark, not the expired design copyright. A one-design "beam of light" sailboat is whatever the ILCA rules and build book say it is, if it's built by an ILCA approved builder. But you can't sell it as a "Laser" and slap that logo on it, without rights to use the trademarks! It would be nice if the ILCA owned the trademark, then your would really control your destiny.

Good on 'ya Bruce, for selling expired rights, and contracts based on something that could be nullified by a simple vote. Enjoy your retirement, you certainly deserve it. Caveat emptor, GS! You should have realized that the contracts Bruce was selling had their foundations in the sand of an ILCA rule that could be changed. I'm sure it was all done in good faith, but my impression is that there may have been lack of proper due diligence on GS' part.

LPE might be a bit out of bounds to stop paying GS, IF their builder's contract subjects them explicitly to the "Kirby agreements" (which sounds not to be the case) or explicitly binds them to the the ILCA Rules, which includes this fundamental rule. I'd suspect builders are contractually bound to abide by the class rules, but have no direct knowledge if that is the case.

OTOH, if builders are contractually bound to the ILCA rules, and the fundamental rule includes abiding by the Kirby agreements, changing that rule is a bit of an end run by the class to benefit LPE.

In the end, I'm not entirely sure what to think (or how I would vote, if I were a voting member), but I would assume that the class officers do have the best interests of the members at heart. They may prefer to withhold details to not embarrass a involved party, or cause them to dig their heels in any deeper.

Quite a conundrum. I hope it can get settled without tearing apart a great class.
Last edited by RockHead; Apr 1, 2011 at 02:56 PM..




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